There are a lot of “firsts” to commemorate in 2019.
This year, Virginia celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World, when Democratic government came to the West.
But this is also a time to commemorate more somber anniversaries: In 1619, African captives arrived in Virginia, introducing the English use of slave labor to America.
While there are several sobering exhibits dedicated to the first Africans, the Historic Triangle is paying tribute in another, lighthearted and educational way with 1619 Fest.
The idea behind the event is to acknowledge people of African descent in America’s origin narrative, as well as “reverse the propaganda of disassociating African Americans from Africa,” according to the 1619 Fest website.
The 1619 Fest will light up the Jamestown Marina at Billsburg Brewery on Aug. 17 with live music from artists including Akae Beka, Mighty Joshua and Cultivated Minds.
The events aren’t limited to the evening, however.
The day will begin with a “First Africans Walking Tour” at 9 a.m. The tour will go to Jamestown Island and visit the Angela site, where archaeologists are working to find traces of Angela, the only one of the first Africans whose name was preserved in history.
After the walking tour, there will be several “pop up” events such as a vendor fair, live music, face painting, yoga, boat tours, panel discussions and a performance called Sounds of Freedom.
The Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble will play at 3:30 p.m.
From there, Cultivated Mind, Mighty Joshua and Akae Beka will play at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively.
Tickets are on sale for $30 apiece.